In the spirit of Halloween and also probably just because she is a cool person, my illustrator Tara Brown has just given me this book Yokai Attack! (The Japanese Monster Survival Guide). It’s important to promote cultural diversity when it comes to monsters. It’s sad that children only get attacked by brain-eating, shuffling zombies or rickety skellies.

I for one would much prefer children watch out for the TOFU KOZO! (English translation Tofu Boy). It’s usually disguised as a small boy wearing a conical straw hat, a kimono and zori sandals. I hear you –that could be anyone! BUT the giveaway is that he will normally be carrying a jiggly block of tofu on a plate. Whatever you do, do not eat the tofu. It will cause a virulent fungus to grow all over your body eventually draining you of life.

Or how about the Zashiki Warashi (‘Child in the room’)? This prankster ghost looks just like a human five year old and love to inhabit happy households. Once they’ve made themselves at home, they’ll climb atop sleeping people at night, flip over pillows, slam doors, turn on music in uninhabited rooms and other spooky activites. Apparently, having a Zashiki Warashi in your house will bring you good fortune. However, when it leaves, your fortunes will reverse…

Sadly, this essential guide to monsters is not available in any Australian brick and mortar bookstore that I’ve visited but you can order it from Amazons: